A fire in an apartment building on Vancouver’s West End forced several seniors to leave their homes Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the building in the 1900 block of Barclay Street at around 4 p.m. for reports of smoke and flames coming from a unit on the fifth floor. The call came from a person in a neighbouring building, and by the time crews arrived, a small crowd had gathered outside the building.

“We got lucky,” Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services Battalion Chief Steve Duncan told CTV News. “It’s a good thing the person reported it, because in a lot of these old buildings, you never know where it’s going to go.”

Duncan said many older apartment buildings in the neighbourhood don’t have sprinkler systems, which makes fires in them considerably more dangerous.

Crews determined that the source of the fire was a sofa, which they quickly extinguished, but Duncan said the smoke lingered inside the building, making its way to higher floors.

Many of the occupants of the building are seniors, and firefighters went door-to-door in the building offering assistance to those who wanted to leave.

Resident Joan Gray was one of those who left the building on her own.

“I was reading my book in the living room and the alarms all went off, so I just came down right away,”

Gray’s friend Margaret, who is 98 years old, was one of the residents helped out of the building by firefighters.

“They’re wonderful,” she said. “I’d like to hug them all.”

No one was injured in the blaze, and residents who evacuated were allowed back into the building shortly after 5 p.m.